It Looked Great on Television
Recently I heard my elderly father comment: “It looked great on television” as he examined, with clear disappointment, a small specialty grill he had just received from one of those ubiquitous infomercials. Now my dad is a typical, frugal Yankee and not easily parted from his hard-earned money, but he and my mother had seen this infomercial for this “incredible” gadget and thought it might be useful. They were not quite persuaded to buy it—they were in the “mulling it over” stage when my sister discovered their interest and ordered it for them. When it arrived, it was much smaller than it appeared on television and didn’t seem nearly as handy as the salesperson had claimed; hence my father’s deflated expectation and ensuing comment: “It looked great on television.”
This morning I received a fax here at the office informing me that my personal information had been reviewed, despite the generic salutation of “Dear Company Owner”, and because of my magnificent accomplishments I had been selected to appear in the “Presidential Who’s Who” 2011 edition. That was not quite as exciting as the email that informed me that my email address had won $1,000,000 from the Harry Potter Foundation, whatever that is, but nonetheless I was delighted to know that Mark Anthony McGuiness, the COO of Presidential Who’s Who was so impressed by my credentials (I don’t know how he “reviewed” them) that he took time out of his busy schedule to write me a personal letter (Dear Company Owner).
With email, smart phones, blackberries, TVs and faxes, we are never unplugged, and we are constantly exposed to the huckster’s pitch. One of the focuses of my job is marketing the Rock of Ages attraction. Naturally I too like to put our best foot forward when marketing ourselves, but marketers truly cross the line when they greatly exaggerate the merits of their products, as in the case of the infomercial grill, or when they lie outright in hopes of parting your from some cash, such as my email sweepstakes win or the dubious honor of being notified of my inclusion in the Presidential Who’s Who of business.
While I am now rarely involved in the marketing of our main business, that of selling memorials, statuary and mausoleums, I am proud to be a part of a company with integrity, a company that delivers quality products without unscrupulous exaggerations or downright fraudulent come-ons. And I am equally proud to be a Vermonter.
I offer a challenge to you and to myself to live with integrity, to live up to our word and to treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated.